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This is version 1.0 of the Eroticature.org FAQ.
What is this project?
It is the erotica implementation of the Open Setting License, a free copyright license that applies to fictional settings (i.e. the names, places and other setting elements that constitute a fictional universe). That means you can take the characters, etc, from this wiki and use them in your own stories, songs and movies. You do not have to ask anyone's permission. You simply have to release your own work under the same License and abide by its terms.
If you want to have your work advertised on this wiki and/or on the associated social media, you have to follow the rules for this website and for the respective pages. For example, you can use the "Brutewood Correctional Facility" in your own Open Setting Licensed-work without permission from anyone. If you want to be considered an official Brutewood book on this wiki and the associated social media, you have to abide by the rules as laid out by the page Brutewood Correctional Facility and its maintainer, etc. You can always create your own Open Setting-website and make an entirely alternate Brutewood with its own rules.
You may have seen this term used around. What does it mean? The content on this wiki is part of an Open Setting, which means fictional characters and places like Brutewood Correctional Facility are free to use. Just like a major motion picture series might revolve around a fictional hero, race or monster -- that's called a "franchise" -- so can an Open Setting revolve around a fictional entity like the Brutewood Correctional Facility. We call these "open franchises".
We also operate many open series, some of which are very popular, such as Str8 Studs Downlow and The Taming of Man. In an open series, anyone can join in and release stories, as well as compilations that include work published by someone else. These sorts of compilations can be very profitable, so it is beneficial to release as many as you can.
Open pen names
We also have shared pen names, like Curtis Kingsmith, who writes gay prison erotica. If your work is appropriate in quality, length, theme, pricing and other factors, you can add Curtis Kingsmith as a coauthor, which will not only increase your sales of that book, it may turn fans of Curtis Kingsmith into fans of yours.
The full text of the license is here.
What does the OSL apply to?
Anybody who publishes an OSL book or other media may reuse the "setting elements" from other OSL stories. What constitutes a "setting element"?
- The names of characters, their descriptions, nicknames, possessions, traits, characteristics
- Places, companies, groups, businesses, governments, dynasties, races
- Magical systems, spells, fictional languages and slang, skills, fictional religions or ideas
- Pictures and designs that exist in the fictional universe, such as logos, paintings, coats-of-arms and flags
- Songs and videos that exist in the fictional universe, such as hit tunes and advertising blurbs
- Words that exist in the fictional universe, such as mottos and famous lyrics
What does not constitute a setting element?
- A story or book itself. When you release your book under the OSL, you still own the exclusive copyright to the words themselves. You are licensing out the names of characters and other setting elements.
- If a substantial part of your book has significance in the fictional universe of your book, other people will be allowed to use your words. For example, if your story revolves around a prophecy, other people can use the exact words of the prophecy. If you write about a kingdom and have a bard recite an epic poem to honor the king, other people can use that epic poem in their own OSL-stories.
- Formatting your story like a diary might imply that it has an existence in the fictional universe its set in. Don't worry, the Open Setting License specifically states that formatting your book like a diary or in the first person doesn't make it open content that anyone can use. So go ahead and format your book however you want. Just don't make your book a famous diary in the world in which it takes place (i.e. don't write The Diary of Joe Smith where the story is the text of a diary and the diary itself is famous within the world of that story), at least not if you're concerned about losing control of your content.
- Note that the Open Setting License only allows other people to reuse your content as part of another Open Setting Licensed work.
The relevant legalese for your amusement (not necessarily up-to-date; this is the official text):
- "Open Setting Content" means any copyrightable In-Universe content that possesses an In-Universe existence, including but not limited to abilities, academies, accessories, adornments, affectations, alliances, anatomies, animals, areas, arenas, armies, armors, artifacts, astrological signs, symbols or systems, bacteria, baronies, battles, biological systems, biomes, bloodlines, bogs, breeds, buildings, bureaucracies, business plans, businesses, calendars, campaigns, cartels, caves and cave systems, celebrations, celebrities, characters, churches, cities, classes, cliches, coats of arms, colorations, comets, conceits, concepts, congresses, contests, continents, contracts, corporations, costumes, countries, counties, courts, creatures, cuisines, cultures, currencies, curses, decorations, departments, deities, deserts, designs, disasters, discoveries, diseases, districts, duchies, dynasties, economies, ecosystems, effects, emotions, empires, enchantments, entities, environments, equations, epidemics, equipment, eras, ethnicities, events, fads, families, fashions, federations, feudal arrangements, festivals, forests, formats, fungi, galaxies, gangs, generations, gestures, governments, groups, guilds, heraldic designs and conventions, heritages, heroes, hierarchies, holidays, historical events or periods, hypotheses, ideas, imagery, incidents, individuals, industries, islands, institutions, inventions, jungles, kingdoms, lakes, landforms, laws, leagues, legal systems, licenses, life cycles, locations, mafias, mannerisms, markets, marshes, meals, mental processes or characteristics, meteorological events or occurrences, monarchs, monasteries, monsters, moons, mountains and mountain ranges, movements, mutations, names, navies, oceans, occupations, oases, omens, orders, organisms, organizations, origins, packs, pacts, parliaments, parties, partnerships, peerages, peoples, personalities, personas, phases, phenomena, phyla or other taxonomic unit, physiologies, places, plagues, plains, planes, planets, plants, plots, powers, prayers, prejudices, products, projects, protests, proverbs, provinces, recipes, religions, races, rebellions, riots, rivers, roads, rules, satellites, scenarios, sayings, schools and systems of education, sea ships or fleets, seas, settings, shops, societies and social orders, software, space ships or fleets, species, spells, spirits, stars, star systems, states, stereotypes, stores, stories, streets, styles, subcultures, subnational units, subspecies, superstitions, swamps, symbols, systems, technologies, temples, terrains, themes, theories, timelines, titles, tournaments, towns, trade groups, traditions, trains, transformations, treaties, trends, tribes, unions, universes, vehicles, villages, villains, wars or weapons; or any games, sports, terminology or copyrightable element relating to game mechanics that have In-Universe existence; or alphabets, etymologies, fonts, grammars, jargon, languages, phrases, pidgins, scripts, signs, slang, words or other linguistic elements that have In-Universe existence; or schools of architecture, art, crafts, criticism, design, economics, education, governance, history, literature, philosophy, programming, religion, science, spirituality, technology, theology or thought, or any affectation, college, degree, title or university thereof, that have In-Universe existence; or any other element, or combination of elements, of style or design that have In-Universe existence; or brands, marks, trade dress, designs, mottos, logos, titles and names of creative works, celebrities or known persons, organizations, businesses, services or products that have In-Universe existence.
What about the title of my work? Also, trademarks?
You maintain the rights to your title. The Open Setting License does not usually affect it.
- You need to be careful about using setting elements in your title. If your story is about Mortimer Jones, and your book is entitled Mortimer Jones, anyone will be able to reuse that title in their own Open Setting Licensed-work.
- You can use setting elements like Mortimer Jones in a title that contains other elements as well, for example: The Life of Mortimer Jones. You can keep exclusive rights to this title just like any other.
- No matter what, you can't stop anyone from re-using the name "Mortimer Jones" in their OSL-licensed titles. So someone else can still publish The Death of Mortimer Jones or The True Story of Mortimer Jones.
- You can trademark setting elements like Mortimer Jones, or terms that contain setting elements, like The True Tales of Mortimer Jones. However, you must issue a license to the setting element in question (e.g. Mortimer Jones) to anyone who requests it for their own use in OSL works or in other trademarks to be used exclusively for OSL works. You can't charge any money for this license.
How does this affect my book cover?
It doesn't, usually. Most covers, especially for erotica, do not contain any meaningful setting content.
- If your cover includes a logo or coat-of-arms, such as from a fictional company or dynasty, it must be Open Setting Licensed.
- If you are depicting a fictional race or species, or if your cover includes copyrightable design elements, such as fonts, fashions, symbols, styles, poses or gestures, they must be Open Setting Licensed.
This applies equally to illustrations inside a book. They should be available under the Open Setting License if it applies, but it rarely does outside of logos and similar designs.
- Note that if you create a logo and use it in an OSL picture, that doesn't give anyone the right to use that picture or any part of it. It gives them the right to remake that design for a logo in their own picture.
Will I be credited by name?
Open setting content does not need to be attributed to its author by name. People can simply state it came from Eroticature.org or from wherever else they found it.
- Why? Practicality. If you want to make a movie starring Wendell "Thumper" White, for example, you'd have to read several books by several authors to figure out which aspects of his appearance, life and story came from which source, so you could attribute it properly. Any mistake or omission could be a copyright violation.
- The Open Setting License specifically bars anyone from falsely claiming they created an aspect of the fictional universe. So if you make a logo for the All-Strong League, I can reuse that logo but I can't claim that I made it. I can attribute it to Eroticature.org or whatever other source I found it in.